Cruise ships may become 'floating hotels' in Katrina's aftermath


MIAMI -- Cruise lines this week are tackling whether their ships could be converted into floating hotels for refugees from Hurricane Katrinas devastation or for disaster recovery workers.

Carnival Cruise Lines said Aug. 31 that it had received an initial inquiry from the federal government about using cruise ships for Katrina relief efforts.

Although to undertake such an endeavor would involve many complicated issues, we are actively taking a look at it, the line said in a statement. We are immensely saddened and concerned for the people of the Gulf Coast who have been devastated by this storm.

Royal Caribbean Cruises CEO Richard Fain told that his company had been in contact with the government: We are looking at it and talking to both state and federal [agencies], he said, to see if theres some way to make a difference.

And at NCL Corp., a spokeswoman said NCL was just beginning to explore options on how the company can assist.

If it is feasible, the company will look at moving ships to accommodate relief workers, she added. However, at this time we dont have ships in the area that could do this.

"We are in close touch with relevant authorities and agencies to see if there is anything practical that the company can do to help further at this point.

To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].

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